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Smartphone dependency – it’s a thing

David Chapple

Workers in the meetings industry have revealed a heavy dependency on digital devices, claiming they would feel disconnected if they were denied access to them for just one day. Contributor David Chapple, Group Event Director – The Meetings Show.

A survey* carried out by The Meetings Show found that 73 percent of meetings professionals would feel anxious if they didn’t have access to their smartphone or another digital device for 24 hours, while 79 percent fear that not having a smartphone or laptop when out of the office for travel or meetings would have a negative impact on their job.

Smartphone addiction starts early in the day for meetings professionals with 73 percent confessing to checking their phones before getting out of bed in the morning. A similar number find it equally difficult to switch off at the end of the working day and at weekends, with 68 percent saying they check work emails outside of work hours.

Even holidays don’t offer a chance to switch off it seems, with 45 percent admitting they respond to work emails when away. In fact, only 5 percent of respondents said they switched their phones off completely every day with 88 percent claiming the phone was only ever turned off if there was no battery or they were on a flight.

However, it appears that much of the pressure to respond to emails is self-imposed. When asked if they felt there was an expectation from colleagues or clients to respond to emails outside of core working hours, just 39 percent said yes.

Thankfully, meetings appear to be a useful barrier to digital device usage, with 71 percent of respondents saying it was unacceptable to use a phone or laptop to send emails during a meeting and a further 93 percent claiming taking a call in a meeting to be bad etiquette.

David Chapple, group event director of The Meetings Show, said: “Digital devices are embedded in our working lives and enable us to be connected when in and out of the office. While these devices can help us be efficient and respond to clients and colleagues immediately from wherever we may be, it is concerning that our survey has revealed that so few of us can switch off outside of working hours and on holiday. We all need downtime and that means less time looking at our phones. Time away from work and our digital devices is not only healthy but is also said to make us more productive.”